Thursday, September 15, 2016

Did you know the Old Soldiers Home has a golf course? The Dept. of Defense may do away with it

This is interesting -- the Post has an article over the fight about the golf course at the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH), also known as the Old Soldiers Home, just east of our area.

The home has a golf course that isn't public, but does have a relatively low membership price of $700 a year -- much less than most country clubs in the area.

The Department of Defense, which runs the AFRH, says the course is too expensive to maintain and an AFRH official told club members they need to raise $250,000 to make sure the 2017 golf season will still happen.

Members of the course like its diversity and relaxed attitude, with members of all races and backgrounds. The course, which dates from the 1930s, is used by veterans, residents of the home and other people around the area.

As one member explained it:
“It’s not a snooty facility. I’m African American, and it’s extremely diverse, a place where you can forget about color,” said Ed Galiber, a psychologist who lives in Northwest Washington. “It’s a speak-easy for regular people to play golf, an affordable small-community course that’s welcoming to the immediate community surrounding it."
The DoD runs 215 golf courses, according to the Post, but the one at the AFRH is the only one that they pay for directly: the rest are paid for by members and by the income generated by the courses and their facilities.

To me, a big issue is the lack of publicity about the course. I'm no golfer, but a few friends are and they've never heard of the course. I knew there was a course there but didn't know other people could play if they joined -- I figured it was just for the residents.

And if you golf a lot, $700 is a steal compared to fees you'd pay at other courses. It seems to me that if DoD or AFRH did some press about the course, they could attract a lot more members and make more money. The course also doesn't have a restaurant, bar or pro shop, which normally generate a lot of revenue at other clubs.

The club members started a fundraising page which is up to $3,600, and the story also got some press from places like Golf.com.

3 comments:

Casual Golfer said...

I'm pretty sure it costs like $20-ish to play a game at Rock Creek Park Golf Course, which is much more affordable than a $700/year fee

Andrew W said...

Right, which is why I said it's a good deal if you play a lot. It was $35 or so when I played at the one in NE.

Anonymous said...

They need to increase the fee from $700. You can't maintain a course with that low of revenue. Increase it to like $3000/year and it'll still be low compared to other nearby "clubs." Its under-advertised for sure, but the course isn't the best quality (at all!) which is why most true golfers stay away.